William Wells Brown

“William Wells Brown: (1816?-1884) American writer, lecturer, and historian, As black America’s first man of letters and a dedicated champion of abolition, Brown devoted himself to the freedom and dignity of his people. A versatile author who wrote in almost every genre, his first publication was Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave, Written by Himself (1847), which was followed by The Anti-Slavery Harp: A Collection of Songs for Anti-Slavery Meetings  (1848). Brown’s other works include Three Years in Europe; or Places I have Seen and People I have Met (1852), a travel account; Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States (1853), a novel which depicts the horror of a system that would allow the daughter of a president to be sold into bondage; and The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom (1858), a five-act drama. The Negro in the American Rebellion: His Heroism and His Fidelity (1867), is the first history of the black soldier. Among Brown’s other autobiographical and historical books are The Black Man: His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements (1863), The Rising Son, or, The Antecedents and Advancements of the Colored Race (1874), and My Southern Home; or, The South and Its People (1880).”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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